Hopelink wants your help to feed 5,000 families

Hopelink will seek to feed 5,000 families at a special first-ever event in Bellevue Downtown Park on May 7.

The organization, the largest social services agency helping people in north and east King County, will begin installing a display of 5,000 reusable grocery bags in the park at 7 a.m. to draw the public's attention to the level of need in the area.

People wanting to help Hopelink fill the 5,000 shopping bags and feed that many families have three options for doing so:

Visit Hopelink’s website at www.hope-link.org to make a cash donation so that Hopelink may purchase bags of groceries to feed hungry families,

Download a shopping list from www.hope-link.org to purchase food at their favorite grocery store, and either return it to Bellevue Downtown Park until 7 p.m. May 7 or to any Hopelink center, or

Come to Downtown Bellevue Park on May 7 to pick up a bag from the display, fill it with groceries from a suggested list and return it to the park by 7 p.m., or to any Hopelink center.

The goal of “Let’s Feed 5,000 Families” is to help stock Hopelink’s food banks for the coming summer months when families whose children eat free or reduced-price meals at school have to provide those meals themselves, agency officials say. In the areas that Hopelink serves, that amounts to 11,402 children this school year.

The 5,000 grocery bags represents the approximate number of household visits that Hopelink expects at its food banks each month this summer. Hopelink shelves need to be filled and ready to meet that need.

“This summer, we expect more families than ever before to turn to Hopelink for help feeding their children,” said Marilyn Mason-Plunkett, Hopelink’s President and CEO. “Since the economic downturn began, Hopelink has seen an increase every month in requests for help with food, energy assistance, housing and other essential human services, and we expect that trend to continue this summer.”

Sponsors of the event include ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover,” KOMO 4, Labor Ready, Wagner Architects and A.R.C Architects. The city of Bellevue also is supporting the event.